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sectional distrust, and I do not think the which was revealed at something like self-discipline of this country, or of any its real intensity in the Democratic other, is sure enough to stand the strain Convention. of a fiercely prolonged sectional struggle to control the government because there are the levers which fix wages It follows that John W. Davis offers and prices, and raise or lower the no support to those who think that the standards of living.
inequalities of wealth can be reduced They do a poor service to the country by an increasing economic activity of who provoke that struggle. They are the Federal Government. He looks for blind, I think, to the experience of ten relief in the opposite direction, to the years, and blind to a plain truth that reduction of governmental activity, we all easily forget. It is a truth as old both where it favors the specially as Aristotle: you must not complicate privileged and where it attempts to your government beyond the capacity regulate and moralize the population of its electorate to understand it; if at large. He would reduce the tariff you do, it will escape all control, turn privilege. He would throw the burden corrupt and tyrannical, lose the popu- of taxation where it will least interfere lar confidence, offer real security to no with the standard of living. He would man, and in the end it will let loose all remove legislative and judicial interthe submerged antagonisms within the ference with voluntary adjustment, state. We have ignored that truth in such as the abuse of the injunction in the last ten years, partly because the labor disputes. His whole philosophy war forced us to do it, partly because, is to place the emphasis on voluntary, as in the Eighteenth Amendment, coöperative, state, regional, and local many people demanded it. We are settlement of disputes and treatment of paying the price in a more embittered social evils. sectionalism than we have ever known He would expect by this political in this generation. Anyone who pro- deflation to make government less poses to go further into the jungles of intricate and much purer, less heady centralization, bureaucracy, govern- at the centre and more alive in the ment interference, with all that they parts. To such a government, he would mean in the accentuating of conflict, is say, people might look again with a hopeful person, but he is no modern sufficient confidence to keep their Progressive, whatever he may call antagonisms within bounds and to face himself. He is inviting on an increas- at last the almost unconsidered probing scale that ominous antagonism lem of their place in a new world.
LA FOLLETTE AND LA FOLLETTISM
BY F. E. HAYNES
closes of War La Folbinationersonalitete toleted
ANY study of Robert M. La Follette West has been and still is the great must include the consideration of three source of democratic impulse in the features in the development of con- United States. It is different from the temporary American political and so- East because it is nearer to the frontier cial thought. These features are: (a) and farther away from the Atlantic the sectional differences between the and Europe. Its centre of interest is East and the West due to the influ- 'the day after to-morrow' instead of ences growing out of the settlement of the day before yesterday. the West; (b) the results of the period After the Civil War industrial develof economic and industrial develop- opment became the dominant feature ment which followed the Civil War; of American life. Industrial combinaand (c) the succession of third parties, tions replaced the small industries of which culminated in the Progressive earlier years. Big business assumed Movement and the Progressive Party leadership while individual workers of 1912. All three of these factors, shrank into relative insignificance. closely interwoven, made the United Autocracy in industry appeared and States of 1912, upon which the reacted upon government and law. European War and its after-effects Great individual fortunes, the trust, have reacted. La Follette is a repre- and the material development of the sentative of the combination of these West absorbed attention. influences, modified by a personality Under modern capitalistic conditions of great force and ability and of the settlement of the West was comunusually pronounced individuality. pleted. The building of the trans
Sectional differences between the continental railroads resulted in an East and the West developed naturally orgy of political corruption. The public and have persisted to the present time. lands and the natural resources of coal, The newer regions of the West have of iron, and of timber were lavishly had different problems and experi- wasted in the great scramble for wealth ences. Their need of more capital has and material power. The carnival of led to paper-money agitations and to waste and plunder reached its climax wildcat banking. More democratic about 1890. Evidences were abundant suffrage and the spoils system had that the great business interests of the their origin in the West. The result has country were controlling the governbeen antagonism between the sections, ment for their own private benefit. which appears in Western hostility to The capitalists who financed the railWall Street and in Eastern criticism roads, mines, mills, packing houses, of Western demands for modifications grain elevators, and other great enterof the national banking system. The prises, received from Congress favors which destroyed competition and enormously increased private fortunes.
Such a condition produced reactions La Follette's career has had two in the minds of the individuals and distinct phases, breaking at the year the communities which were directly 1912. These two periods subdivide affected by these activities. The suc- again into: his Wisconsin activity up cession of minor parties, beginning in to 1906, and his service in the Senate the seventies, constituted the political before 1912; his position during the phase of the gradual awakening to a real- European War, and his return to ization of the situation. These parties influence since 1922. were recurring protests against succes. During the period before 1912 his sive manifestations of the growing indus- ideas were those of other Progressive trial power of the financiers and capi- leaders in the different states. His talists. The regulation of the railroads, political experience in Wisconsin led the continued use of greenbacks, and the him to emphasize the direct primary free coinage of silver were among the and the regulation and taxation of issues of the men who were waging war railroads. After his election to the against special privilege.
Senate in 1906 he took a prominent A new social consciousness gradually part in the debates upon the Railroad emerged, resulting in the Progressive Rate Bill and he was one of the small Movement in both the major parties, group of Republican Senators who and culminating in the Progressive refused to vote for the Payne-Aldrich Party of 1912.
Tariff Act of 1909. The influence of the succession of Senator La Follette's programme third parties, and their gradual con- and his accomplishments in his own version of the major parties to a serious state came to be known as the Wisestimation of social and economic consin Idea, and the state was regarded issues, is one of the most significant as the ideal type of a progressive phenomena in the United States of the democratic commonwealth. It was first decades of the twentieth century. thought of as embodying in a peculiarly Apparently this accomplishment has successful way the purposes of the reached a stage of relative completion, Progressive Movement. since no new minor or third parties The Wisconsin Idea maintained the have been formed since 1912.
doctrine 'that business and human Senator La Follette was one of the welfare can increase side by side' pioneer Progressives. He has lived and 'that laws can be so constructed through the developments that have as to lead to progress and at the same just been summarized. The democratic time preserve to the fullest all human influence of the frontier, the reaction betterment.' The life of the commuagainst the effects of the material nity was brought into the closest exploitations of Western resources, and relations with education. The Univerthe new social consciousness that grew sity of Wisconsin, of which La Follette out of it, have all formed a part of was himself a graduate, became the his intellectual make-up. He is a model for such state institutions in the product of all these influences, and the United States. Railroad regulation, La Follette ideas and ideals can only sanitation, and social legislation were be understood by constant reference to placed in the hands of experts. The the background out of which they policy was to make use of the results have grown.
of the work of scholars connected with
and thad to pro the
the University in connection with the part in the formation of the Progressive administrative routine of the state. Party and during the campaign he Expert knowledge tempered by de repeatedly made bitter personal atmocracy was the objective. The ulti- tacks upon Mr. Roosevelt. He was mate success of democratic government understood to be throwing his influence depends upon the general application privately for Mr. Wilson. of similar methods, both in our national Personal egotism seems to have affairs and in the activities of local dominated this phase of his career. divisions. Somehow we must get away He could not adjust himself to the from the prevalent idea of public judgments of his fellow Progressives office as a reward for political service and take his place in the ranks. His and base it upon competency to per- resentment blinded him to everything form the work required of the official. except his own sense of unfair treatThe development of a body of expert ment. Admitting that he may have officials would result from the appli- had some reason for his attitude, it cation of the Wisconsin Idea.
remains true that he could not subBefore 1912 La Follette was one of ordinate his own feelings and interests the group of leaders of the Progressive to those of the movement for which wing of the Republican Party; since he had accomplished so much. This 1912 he has followed in the main a attitude was chiefly responsible for the solitary career of opposition. Only course he has followed since 1912, recently has he emerged from his which may be described as the playing isolation and become the leader of a of a lone hand in the political and group of Progressives and radicals in legislative game. He cannot follow, Congress and in the country.
but only lead. A friend who declines The occasion for the momentous to follow his leadership can no longer change in his career is to be found in be recognized by him as a friend. These the division which arose among the are the characteristics, undoubtedly, Progressive Republicans in 1911 and of a man of great force and individu1912 as to the candidate most likely ality. They are elements of strength as to defeat President Taft for renomina- well as of weakness in the fashioning of tion. Senator La Follette was first a career. encouraged to announce himself, but From 1912 to 1922 La Follette conlater he was urged to withdraw in tinued to give expression to the ideas favor of ex-President Roosevelt as a which he had developed as one of the leader with a better chance of defeating leaders of the Progressive Movement. the President. A bitter personal feud During these years his isolation unbetween La Follette and Roosevelt doubtedly accentuated his opposition resulted. The former felt that he had to many of the prevailing policies. been used to test the situation so that, Personal bitterness unconsciously colwhen it had been found promising, ored the opinions that he held. Even Roosevelt might announce his candidacy his more extreme views in regard to the as he had always intended to do. On war, and our relation to it as a nation, the other hand, it was maintained that were not entirely unrepresentative of La Follette had been supported until the people and the communities with his physical breakdown, in his Phil- which he was identified. adelphia speech in February 1912, In the West popular opinion moved made it plain that another candidate slowly away from the first reactions to must be found. La Follette took no the outbreak of the war in Europe.
States in tilette repres from Eution uponu
The campaign of 1916 was won largely it were a matter of indifference to upon the slogan that President Wilson Americans whether or not the war had kept us out of the war. Only ended with a victory for Germany. Germany's reckless disregard of Ameri- The local conditions in Wisconsin can rights on the sea in the submarine curiously fitted in with the attitudes he warfare finally brought the United assumed. His practical pro-Germanism States into the European contest. and his general opposition to war
La Follette represented the Western received widespread support in his viewpoint, remote from Europe and own state because of its large German inclined to look with suspicion upon population and the strength of the everything European and especially local Socialist movement. anything British. He blamed 'the In spite of his sincerity and fearlessmoney power and the subjugated ness, his ability as a political leader is press' for instigating and sustaining the so great that it is hardly conceivable 'clamor for war.' He urged that 'we that he failed to take account of these should make it possible for the people circumstances. to give voice to their deep convictions. His return to influence and power Let us have an advisory vote upon this in 1922 came as a result of the situamatter of war, that will serve as a tion which developed in the West after dictaphone within the Chambers of the fall of the prices of agricultural Congress, through which the voice of products, which occurred in 1920. the people — the people who pay and woher people obale pour
The lack of leadership and the policy who suffer - shall indeed reach the
of drift left the initiative to Congress.
front of maintain publes ears of those who represent them and Dissatisfaction with existing condiwho have, under the Constitution, the tions, and the failure of remedial action sole power to declare war.
in Congress, brought Republican defeat Under the stress of war conditions in the Congressional elections of 1922. he went far beyond the mere proposal A combination of organized farmers of a popular referendum upon war. and union labor elected Progressive or He advocated policies that would have radical candidates in a number of made the United States an accom- Western states. These radicals or plice of German militarism. His course Progressives held the balance of power inevitably led to the charges of dis- in both houses of Congress. They loyalty which were brought against formed the so-called Progressive bloc, him on account of certain statements and under La Follette's leadership made in a speech delivered in St. they dominated the last session of Paul in September 1917. These charges Congress. His survival as one of the were investigated by a Senate Com- early Progressives and his identificamittee, and were dismissed, upon recom tion during the war with labor and mendation of the Committee, by a vote radical movements made him the of 50 to 21.
natural leader of the new opposition From April 7, 1917, to January 12, group. His own reëlection to the 1918, sixty different war measures Senate at the same time confirmed his were passed by Congress. La Follette recognition as 'the leader of the supported and voted for fifty-five of opposition. The accession to power in these laws. He opposed only such England of the Labor Party, under the measures as he regarded as undemo- leadership of Ramsay MacDonald, cratic and un-American. At the same suggests a comparison between La time, he acted throughout the war as if Follette and MacDonald. A general